Thoren‘s Gwarth I is a dissonant, cacophonous swirl of sound that shrieks, writhes and groans with the intent of causing cerebral harm.
Following in the footsteps of its 2016 predecessor, Brennenburg, Gwarth I sees the Detroit technical death metallers increasing the complexity and drifting further into abstraction. With contributions from current and former members of Secret Chiefs 3, Pyrrhon, and Imperial Triumphant, this transformation into an outre death metal force is even more fleshed out.
The songs featured on this mind-boggling release are constantly flowing and evolving, rarely allowing the listener enough time to recover before the next aural bombardment is unleashed. From the opening lurch of “Firith”, to the discombobulating jagged riffs of “Tyranny”, Gwarth I is a pretty relentless assault on the senses.
Songs like “Agarwaen” deliver violent whirlwinds of atonal, spiraling riffs that transition seamlessly into off-kilter chugging and spacey atmospherics all within a short two-and-a-half-minute timeframe. Bending, seasick grooves and volatile, seizure-inducing stop-and-start rhythms turn heads upside down on the album’s fifth track, “Daleb Dath”. Sprawling dissonant riffs are deconstructed and reassembled into grotesque shapes on “Scatha”, and then are subsequently propelled into cacophonous bursts via frantic drumming. With the exception of the dissonant acoustic number “Kos”, the entire album is just a series of brain battering anthems.
While the instrumentation and performances are extremely impressive, the band does throw a lot at the listener at once, which ultimately results in some moments blurring together. As previously stated the record is ever flowing and evolving, which means some riffs and transitions get lost in the swirling chaos and tend to be forgotten. But despite that the album as an overall listening experience just seems to work for what it is.
Gwarth I is a short but sweet technical death metal release that will appease fans of the genre’s more “avant-garde” side and please those folks who just get a kick out of motion sickness.
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Agarwaen”, “Scatha” and “Kos”
For Fans Of: Blotted Science, Coma Cluster Void, Portal and Dysrhythmia